Milestones:Virginia Smith High-Voltage Direct-Current Converter Station, 1988


Date Dedicated
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Lakewood, Colorado
IEEE Regions
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Virginia Smith High-Voltage Direct-Current Converter Station, 1988


Built by Siemens, owned and operated by Western Area Power Administration (US DOE), the 200 MW HVDC Virginia Smith Converter Station near Sidney, Nebraska, connected the eastern and western U.S. grids. Its core technology is an all solid-state converter with integrated steady-state, dynamic, and transient voltage control up to its full rating. The station was an important advance in HVDC technology and cost-effectiveness.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the Milestone Plaque Sites

WAPA Corporate Headquarters Building, 12155 West Alameda Parkway, Lakewood, Colorado 80228 USA, 39.7070908, -105.1371014

Details of the physical location of the plaque

The plaque will be hung on the wall in the atrium of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) headquarters building in Lakewood, Colorado.

How the plaque site is protected/secured

WAPA's atrium, where the plaque will be hung, is open to the public during normal business hours (Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4.00 PM). This area is also protected by guards during these hours and monitored 24/7 by security cameras.

Historical significance of the work

The Virginia Smith HVDC Converter Station is the first interconnection between the eastern and western US ac grids without separate Static VAr Compensators (SVC). Special innovative converter control algorithms and equipment design features allow the converter to provide SVC functions for both ac buses. This new approach has been studied and confirmed in digital simulations and it has proven its validity in over 25 years of operation. The Station has increased the electric power availability and quality for industries and residents on both sides near the electric border.

Features that set this work apart from similar achievements

Two special features characterize the Virginia Smith HVDC Converter Station: In addition to regulating real power transfer at any MW level in either direction, the converter control offers dynamic reactive power control in response to ac voltage changes. Thus, ac voltage stability requirements are met without separate SVC on either ac bus. Dynamic overvoltage limitation is accomplished by parallel ZnO arresters switched with fast-closing breakers.

Significant references

Elmer Kaprielian, Western Power System Interconnection: and other recollections of an electric utility career, 1994, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

1.) Advanced Concepts and Commissioning Experiences with the Sidney Converter Station by E. Klenk, S. Kötschau, D. Povh, Siemens AG and H. de Laneuville, D. R.Torgerson, T. L. Weaver, Western Area Power Administration; CIGRÉ 1988 Session Paper No. O/14-10

2.) Incorporating AC Voltage Regulation in HVDC Scheme Controllers and Designs by A. E. Hammad, K. Sadek, H. Koelsch, G. Gueth; EPRI Symposium on Urban Applications of DC Power Transmission, Philadelphia, USA, October 1983, Proceedings pp. 315-332

3.) Power Modulation of Sidney HVDC Scheme Part II Computer Simulation by R. K. Johnson, N. S. Klemm, K. H. Schilling, G. Thumm; IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Volume 4, October 1989, pp. 2153-2161

4.) Observations on Low Short Circuit Capacity Stations - Miles City and Sidney by T.L.Weaver, L. M. Greiner, R.K.Johnson, Western Area Power Administration; Presented at the IEEE 1986 Winter Power Meeting

5.) Advanced Scheme for AC Voltage Control at HVDC Converter Terminals by A.Hammad, K.Sadek, H.Koelsch, G.Gueth; IEEE 84 T&D 385-1

Supporting materials

IMG 1400-thyristor valves.jpg
IMG 1356-substation looking south.jpg

Media:IMG 1347-control desk.pdf

Media:IMG 3320-smoothing reactor.pdf


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